Dog Breeds of the World
by Freeman Lloyd
Something About Their Development, Origin, and Uses throughout the Ages
(continued from June Issue)
By FREEMAN LLOYD from the American Kennel Club Gazette July 1935. “This will be article one of three published by Freeman Lloyd in 1935. I will post the second next week. These articles have been donated by Don Frames from the scrapbook collection of Gertrude Hooft.”
SAVE in size, everything is so alike in the whippet and the greyhound, there can be small wonder that similar greatnesses and like weaknesses have been and will be seen in both breeds. A debility, or lack of devilment, may happen because of too much in-breeding or the closeness of the strains – relationship of the sire and dam of the young stock.
About a century and a half ago, the old style of bull-baiting dog was used to cross with the finest-bred of the coursing greyhounds of Merrie England.
THE chief propagandist for this style of mating was the celebrated Lord Orford, who, although looked upon as an eccentric nobleman, was very “wise” in regard to sport and the production of greyhounds fitted for the purpose of coursing.
He believed that the introduction of the fighting bulldog blood would put more steam and killing desire into the greyhound breed; besides, in those days, the bulldog was not the cloddy, close-to-the-ground, heavy shouldered, short faced and kink-tailed sort of dog that he is today. For the purposes of bull-baiting and pit-fighting, the bulldog or bull-and-terrier dog had to be an active and aggressive creature: one of good stamina, wind, and quickness.
In breeding, Lord Orford introduced every possible experimental cross. He strongly indulged an idea of a cross with the old-fashioned bulldog, from which he could never be diverted.
IT is written that after patiently persevering for seven generations, he found himself in possession of the best greyhounds ever known up to that time. These greyhounds, which possessed more or less bulldog blood, had the small ear, the rat tail, and the skin almost without hair, together with innate courage which the high-bred greyhound should possess, retaining which instinctively, he would rather die than give up the chase.
F. S. ( Jack) Davies, born at Pontypool, Monmouthshire, England, son of a five-times Mayor of that famous old town – where the Indian game of polo was nurtured by the Herberts was, along with Felix Leser, of Baltimore, Maryland, among the first men in America, to use the fighting bullterrier cross on to the pure-bred whippet breed. Davies is one of those men that appear to be made up of horse, as well as dog, fancying ambitions; indeed, few have had more experience in stable and kennel, on the race tracks, and among ordinary bench show surroundings. Practical in everything, he was mainly in charge of the transport of between 28 and 30 thousand horses overseas in the 1914-17 times of the World War.
As you stand by and observe him stripping or trimming a Sealyham or Scottish terrier at Dr. Stark’s New York Veterinary Hospital, while a bevy of young and older ladies of the Park Avenue sets look on, you may hardly imagine that the poodle clipper and dog racer of today, has faced untold dangers in times of carnage and submarines—mostly on the high seas!
UT it was Felix Leser and Jack Davies who had read about the celebrated Lord Orford who so sucessfully produced the coursing greyhound-bulldog cross. So they set about putting more devil into the whippet breed by introducing the Yankee or fighting bullterrier blood into the prospective veins of the smallest of the American dog racing kind.
The bull-and-terrier was of the brindled color sort—a much sought after whole or part marking in greyhounds; indeed, it has been said that the sign of brindle in the shade of a dog’s hair, signifies “pluck.”
As we know, the racing dog requires not only great courage, but the keeping up of that quality until the very last inch of the 210 yards event is decided. The additional 10 yards, of the 200- yards affair, is the distance covered to the trig mark before the dog is enabled to grab the towel ten paces beyond the winning line. He should pass the post at his fullest speed.
As will be seen from the picture of the dog on this page, the first cross from the fighting bullterrier and whippet might have passed for a fairly well- bred whippet and mustered as a straight-bred race dog, in the eyes of perhaps 90 per cent of persons not entirely acquainted with the physical proportions of the working man’s racehorse!
The whippets—the racing whippets of the past—were not always registered at the A. K. C., so a strict purity of blood was not called for. But, to a certain extent, the full blood was expected.
ON the other hand, no secret was made when a racer was a mongrel: there was no covering-up the particulars regarding the experiments the breeder had made: far more important was the happy result or otherwise of such hazardous experiments.
The pit or bullterrier being usually a rat-tailed dog, there need not be any fear of producing cross-bred whelps with screw tails; but the bull terrier- whippet cross-bred youngsters certainly possessed the coarser skulls and larger ears of the fighting dog side of the kennel.
Anyhow, what Lord Orford did in the 18th Century, Davies, a Baptist minister’s son, helped to accomplish in the 20th cycle. Crossing coursing or racing dogs with fighting bullterriers, was merely a matter of history repeating itself. Felix Leser and Jack Davies were its new preachers.
One of the bullterriers used as a stud dog to cross with whippets was a dog named Kim, owned by Mr. Leser, who was convinced that some of the Maryland and other whippets required a little more “heart” in them. Moreover, a dash of the pit blood would make the progenies grow into better finishers: they would be “game” to the last. Nor was Kim turned to an ordinary whippet bitch, but to none other than Mr. Leser’s Ch. Broadway Admiration, a silver-fawn in color and weighing about 16 pounds.
THIS experiment was started by Mr. Leser and finished by Mr. Davies. The final result from these unions was the black bitch, Try Me, a seven-eighths-bred whippet, unquestionably one of the very fastest of her kind – including the straight-bred whippets – ever seen in the United States.
One of the half-breeds – half bullterrier and half whippet – was Dancing Spray, a white and brindle bitch weighing 20 pounds. She was quite fast on the track, but inclined to fight. As we know a scrapper or “slapper” – the technical or slang name for a savager in a race – will upset everything: so Dancing Spray had to be withdrawn from the cinder and grass courses. The brindle of her markings might have denoted an over-dose of the fighting dispositions of the “bull” side of her ancestry.
To return to Try Me – she of the seven-eighths whippet blood. She scaled 18 pounds, and as fast as the wind. She had the disposition of a terrier rather than that of a whippet; was extremely peppy at all times, and lively as a cricket. Try Me was race-crazy, and as stout a finisher as any whippet ever seen. She defeated every other good dog in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Maryland. She raced against the best, and won in easy fashion the first, and the second Maryland Derby.
Freemanor Racing Ravanell, a blue dog, was perhaps the fastest whippet ever bred by Mr. Leser. In the picture on the first page of this article, Ravanell is shown with a silver cup and floral horseshoe these signifying his winning of the Southern Maryland Handicap in 1932.
THE purse was $250. Time for 200 yards, 12 2/5 seconds. Ravanell, still living, was sired by Ch. Freemanor Galloping Ghost, his dam was Ch. Freemanor Aggravating Blues.
Among the prominent supporters of whippet racing in the suburbs of Boston, are Bayard Tuckerman, Jr., and Bayard Warren. On an occasion of a visit of Edward, Prince of Wales, to Boston, the heir to the English Throne was part time a guest of Mr. Tuckerman, master of foxhounds, and a country squire dear to the internationally distinguished young man’s heart. So between refreshments, dances, and music, what better than a little whippet racing on the Tuckerman lawns!
As evidence that the Prince was greatly impressed with the beauty and racing qualities of the whippets, he commissioned a Boston jeweler to make a dozen ladies’ bracelets, fashioned in miniature, of the models of whippets, in 18-carat gold. Also, a like number of stick or breastpins for the cravats of men.
THE revelation of this “royal command” came about or was disclosed in a somewhat peculiar way :
This writer has many callers: photographs of dogs, birds, fishes and what not in their forms of domestic or wild creatures, are often desired by designers, modelers, artists, and others. So it happened that, one day, a young lady – a daughter of one of our Manhattan’s celebrated sculptors and miniature modelers – called and asked for a picture of a leaping tarpon, the gamest of the larger game fishes that swim in tropical waters.
And, just to demonstrate, as it seemed, that her respected sire was a master in his art, the damsel produced a small case of elegant and little plaster casts of dogs, birds, butterflies, and fishes. There were the miniature forms from which the moulds were made for the reproductions of the plain or afterwards bejewelled exquisites of the goldsmith’s and gem-setter’s arts.
Among the little milk-white models there was one of a whippet!
“So you have a whippet?”
“Yes: Father designed and made that one for the Prince of Wales.” “The Prince of Wales?”
YES, when the Prince was in Boston, he gave a large order to a local jeweler for bracelets and stick pins. He visited the goldsmith and begged of him to have the dogs modeled after the photograph of a galloping whippet, the Prince produced from his pocket: it was a Boston-owned dog, he said. So my father was commissioned to make the model: the one you now admire: it’s a duplicate of the cast. The design for the bracelet was a chain of golden and jewelled whippet dogs connected by links.”
So, whenever whippet jewel-conceits adorn the elegant wrists of beautiful ladies, and whippet stick pins glisten on the breasts of gallant gentlemen, everyone will be delighted to learn that it was the dog-racing on the Tuckerman acres that inspired the British Heir, with an idea that the miniature forms of whippets would be as beautiful as they would be unique. For were they not as swift-like as the swallow, and persistent as the lover!
Incidentally, it may be here written that one of Mr. Tuckerman’s best and home-bred whippets was Ch. Black Prince, famous as a show and racing dog. He was in his prime between 1920 and 1924. Prince was a black dog, and one of the fastest whippets of his time in America.
In 1928, whippet racing commenced on the Island of Bermuda. Electrically controlled starting boxes were used. The dogs were mostly supplied from the United States, several of the runners being sent by Mr. Leser and his friends. The dogs were in charge of Jack Davies and William J. Kelly, who raced the dogs during the whole of that year.
While on the subject of electric starting boxes, it is the opinion of more than one well-informed whippeter that the hand-slipping mode, as employed for releasing dogs in a race, is about a second faster than the electric box action. It is now conceded the difference is only a fraction of a second. Perhaps, it is better to put it in this way: hand-slipping is from three to five yards faster than that from electric boxes.
THE laying down of a track is a most important matter. It will be well, it is thought, that the methods of the Baltimore Club be followed. A valued correspondent, who has raced his whippets in this country and Canada, over all surfaces – sand, dirt, turf and cinder – has the following to say :
“I have yet to see a better or faster surface than that at the Maryland Whippet Club. This, as you may remember, is composed of a mixture of clay, rotten sand and oak-sawdust in approximately equal parts. The ground for the track was first leveled and rolled. Sideboards, about four inches high, were installed the complete length on both sides of the track.
“The rotten sand, clay and sawdust was then dumped on, and thoroughly mixed by laborers with rakes. When it was lairly leveled and about four inches deep, it was then soaked with water and rolled. This makes an ideal, springy surface, and with ditches on both sides, very little water ever remains. The only care this needs is a light raking once a week, with a heavy one-man roller of the tennis court type. In very dry weather, a light sprinkling of water may be necessary.”
It is believed that the above method of whippet race-track making, was first put into practice by Mr. Leser whose present address is Riverside Drive, Saranac Lake, New York. It is almost superfluous to mention he will always be found ready to give advice on the most important matters concerning made tracks or courses. Severe frost, as we know, plays the dickens with cement and other composite race paths.
Although my maternal uncles, Isaac and Benjamin Lloyd, of Trevallen, near Pembroke, West Wales, were well-known amateur jockeys at hunt meetings, they could not have anticipated that a steeplechase for dogs would be named for a nephew. Yet Baltimore has had its annual “Freeman Lloyd Steeplechase!” But, in truth, it has been a flying or hurdle race, with here and there a water jump. In Maryland was held the first whippet steeplehase in America, if not in the world. As we know, greyhound steeplechasing is now one of the most spectacular of the dog-racing sights where thousands of men and women enjoy the sport.
THE first race over obstacles took place under the auspices of the M.W.C., on April 27, 1930, and was won by Freemanor Flying Slim. The other five entries fell and failed to finish. Time: 16 seconds for 200 yards. Harold S. Cahn’s black dog, Nero, was well in the running when he came to grief.
Mr. Cahn, a Baltimore-New York banker, is a keen patron of dog-racing, besides being a big-game hunter in South America and other of the wilder and least-known lion, tiger, jaguar and boar countries.
The jumps at Baltimore – four for each dog – were at first painted white, but apparently, the visibility was bad, causing all to fall. Immediately after the first jumping race, the top bars of the hurdles were painted with black, red, and white strips, and this improved steeplechasing immensely. Very few tumbles were recorded after this. The running times also were greatly improved. The record, it is believed, was 14 seconds for the full distance of 200 yards. It must be added that steeplechases are very popular with the public, and at least one event is run at each meeting. Most of the dogs entered are generally of the heavy order: 24- to 28-pounders.
One of the leading and best informed of Canadian and American whippet racers is Alfred Lowenstein, formerly of Toronto, and now of Brooklyn, New York. He must have been breeding and racing whippets for close on 30 years; he is a worthy manager of race meetings, a competent handicapper, and quick thinker and director when called upon for advice either at the starting or finishing end of the track.
He saw most of the earlier meetings held in the Queen City of the Dominion, where, undoubtedly, the greatest outdoor and indoor exhibition of farm livestock and other products are to be seen. It were almost needless to write that the annual exhibition at Toronto is referred to, and after having visited all of the greatest of the agricultural shows within the British Empire, it is to declare that the huge spectacles held on the shore of Lake Ontario are far the best and most wonderful.
IT is there, among all the glory of the products from the prairies, the manufacturies, and the mineral wealths, the home and foreign breeds of horses, dogs, cattle, sheep and what you have, that whippets may be seen. The Mother Country’s sport flourisheth exceedingly in a new land where her children’s children foregather.
Mr. Lowenstein brought his Canadian whippeting experiences to the United States, and America has benefited accordingly. One of his best whippets must have been Hasty Daisy, a rough-coated, red-fawn bred by her owner. Daisy was one of the fastest of the Canadian -breds from 1919 to 1923. Whenever a rough-haired red whippet is written about or discussed, the memory runs back to Freebooter, a dog of that description, and one which did a good turn and a bad turn for his connections, at one and the same time.
It was way back in the very late ’90s of the last cycle, when the Durban Whippet Handicap was run off on Lords Grounds, the noted recreation resort for this, that and other attractions at the beautiful city of Durban, Natal, South Africa. This writer had been called upon to handicap the dogs entered for the great event. It was a sweepstakes, each subscriber drawing a slip from a hat on which the name of a whippet had been written. The subscription list lacked one subscriber: there were 30 dogs in the hat, but only 29 persons had come forward to take a chance. The handicap had been made: the programme was in the hands of the printer.
The sweep could not be drawn unless it was fully subscribed for: a dog could not be “scratched” for any other reason than its unfitness. So what was to be done? Couldn’t the handicapper take a ticket? Wasn’t the handicap in the possession of the committee? Wasn’t it a game of chance where any one might draw a good or a bad prospect? There could be no wagering until particulars of the figures of yardage allowances were published? Finally, wasn’t the handicapper’s money as good as that of any one else?
“Yes” came the reply to all these interrogations.
At the end of the racing day, the flag went up for Freebooter running in the nomination of the wife of the handicapper!
ALAS! That was a direful moment. How could the public be expected to be aware about what had happened at the drawing of those fateful slips? Obviously, the swindle was as plain as the nose on your own face. The handicapper had favored his spouse’s dog so that it might not only win the Cup but a goodly sized pot of gold as well.
Gosh! The Freebooter victory did appear a shady one. Never was a goblet and cash so reluctantly accepted. Moreover, the very name of the dog, Freebooter, seemed to bear a double meaning – an insult as well as an injury to good sportsmanship. Couldn’t the red whippet’s name be made analagous with spoiler, pillager, shark, bushranger, Bedouin, brigand, bandit, buccaneer, pickpocket or common thief? That indeed, would be the opinion of the general public! The stewards or race committee alone held the secret; and, in due course, they would explain everything. In the meantime the man on the street corner had to be left with his own belief.
The Durban Cup never graced the handicapper’s sideboard. There already had been warning and reproof enough. It is indiscreet for any professional official to have anything to do with a dog’s running at a race meeting with which he is connected.
THERE used to be some good whippet racing on the show grounds at Wissahickon, Chestnut Hill, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This was especially so at the great and joyous kennel gatherings held under the superintendence of the late James Mortimer. For the Devon man from England was fond of sport—especially that of the racing kind. So when there were no horses to back, Jim, the billiard specialist, liked to have his fling of a dollar or two on a mere dog. Atlantic City, New Jersey, Rhode Island, all had their whippet races which were well patronized. The Canadian dogs owned by George Gooderham, the distiller, being among the runners.
An ideal grass track is to be found running alongside one of the boundaries of the famous polo ground at the Meadowbrook Club, Hempstead, Long Island, New York. This course is a natural one with a building on the one side that is suitable for weighing the dogs and other official matters.
WHIPPETING is a pastime that may be enjoyed by all : the “Four Hundred” as well as the Dicks, Toms, and Harrys of the sporting tribes. As before remarked, jumping races are spectacular and therefore very popular. With the new circular tracks and artificial electrically propelled “hares” or “rabbits,” the new style of whippet racing is bound to become more and more important. The drawback to whippeting has been the smallness of the runners: it is hard to see a 16-20- pound dog from a distance of 100 or more yards, when he is running on a straight-away track. On the other hand, when miniature greyhounds – as whippets may be called for the purpose of this explanation – are running around a circular track of much less area than the full-sized greyhound course, the under-25-pound racers can be identified, admired or otherwise.
Herewith is given the figures for making a handicap for dogs and bitches of unknown or unobserved speeds. The table – abridged – is taken from my “Whippet, or Race Dog,” published by Upcott Gill, London. It has been used throughout the world, as a guide for amateurs. Its heading is retained. It reads:
Starts required by dogs of different weights in a 200- yards handicap so that each dog will be on equal terms.
With the building and furnishing of the new and miniature circular whippet tracks, a new era is surely in store for the splendid sport of whippet-dog racing.